Dear Roker Report,
For a number of years now I think that all of our problems can be neatly summed up in just one word - reactive!
We can talk about the various failings of managers, players, Ellis Short and Martin Bain but essentially the problem has been that we're always reacting to situations and never being in any way proactive.
If we look at just a couple of examples we can see this perfectly clearly.
Our current predicament puts us in need of a manager and it's becoming increasingly obvious that there was no planning when it came to life after Grayson. We were up the creek without a paddle so we sacked him and only then did we react to the situation and start wondering who we should get instead. There's no thought to style of play, there's no thought to the best man for the team we have and there's no thought to a candidate fitting our particular circumstances.
All of those things would involve us being proactive but no, we're reactive so we only start to think about a new manager after the old one has packed his things and gone.
We select who is available and cheap rather than who can get the best out of our squad and there's certainly no thought given to Sunderland having a clear identity in style of play.
If we had any of these things, managerial changes could be seamless but instead we lurch from manager to manager with no sense of continuity.
The most successful teams aren't reactive like this, they're proactive.
They constantly monitor different managers, target those that fit the playing style and identity of the club and are thus able to move swiftly, decisively and effectively when it becomes time to change. Sunderland are the polar opposite to this kind of proactive management and by being reactive, we have to suffer our annual fire fight and constant team tinkering.
The same problem is true of player recruitment.
For years we've simply been reactive to the time in the transfer window and who is being offered to us. If it's late in the window, you can be sure Sunderland will get somebody, regardless of suitability. How many times have we made a big name signing of a perfectly good player only to find he doesn't fit the rest of the team at all? How many times have we signed players because they're a 'name' and been left paying a fortune to somebody who is only with us to pick up a huge pay cheque? (Rodwell?) As a result of this reactive way of dealing, how many times have we been left with minimal cover in key positions while other positions are more amply covered but with players who can't play effectively together?
Due to the above failings we end up with a manager who is trying to use a squad wholly unsuited to his approach and filled with players who aren't here for the right reasons. He tries to change the situation in the transfer market and spends some money but he gets the bullet before real change can take place and the whole fiasco starts again.
Clearly Short and Bain must take most of the responsibility here and in fairness to Short, he at least seems to now recognise his mistakes and came across well in his recent interview but in my opinion, Bain is a different matter.
He's a hatchet man, there to cut costs and in those terms, I'm sure he's effective enough, however, he's patently NOT a football man and as soon as we encounter football issues he's totally and utterly inept. He seems to be the most reactive figure at the club in football terms, making extremely poor managerial appointments, seeking poor advice, standing by his decisions even when it's obvious to the world it's not going to work and pandering to all of the wrong people.
The man's a joke!
We need the fans behind the team and manager again and to do that, we need to be involved with the club far more than we are at the moment.
This is where the Red and White Army's plan is so important because we need that voice and they need to listen.
When I read of the leading candidates to be our new manager I despair.
Apparently McCoist is Bain's preferred choice. Why? Because they're friends.
He gets advice from Walter Smith. Why? Because they're friends.
He simply must have a footballing presence on the Board and a figure the fans can get behind. He needs a manager who is used to taking teams and clubs in trouble and turning them around. He needs a manager who is hungry and has a history of success in these key areas but he does NOT need a big name, he does NOT need top flight experience and he doesn't even need Championship experience. I'm not discounting these options but I don't think we should be limited by them either.
For me, Paul Hurst is the man we need because he fits these criteria but I doubt we'll go that way. Instead we'll continue to be reactive and consequently lurch our way down to League One.
Dear Roker Report,
If it’s out of Heckingbottom and McCoist...
They would both be bad appointments for the club, as I think neither of them would be capable of getting our players up for a game, and neither have really seen much in the way of success during their management careers.
Heckingbottom has a 30% win ratio at Barnsley but is only on a 12 month rolling deal - is that the reason Bain wants him, because he’s a cheap option and fits the bill?
He’s pretty much just a younger version of Grayson.
Realistically we should be going for someone in the mould of Big Sam, rather than yet another Simon Grayson.
Dear Roker Report,
I commented yesterday on an article that there is a very strong rumour that Grayson was sacked after the game as Bain had MCoist and Smith lined up to takeover.
Apparently this was vetoed by Ellis Short.
If this is correct then Short deserves credit.
But if it is true what isBain playing at, it's all jobs for the boys.
It would explain the current delay and why Grayson was sacked in the tunnel after the game as though someone was lined up, but the vacancy has still not been filled.
Please can Roker Report check this out somehow as the local press seen incapable of asking the right questions or giving the right answers
ed: Sorry Paul - I’ve asked about but nobody seems to know.